Six on Saturday. A peek in my greenhouse

On such a horrible wet day, the only place to be is in my greenhouse.

Cacti and succulents rule on the top shelf. They virtually look after themselves. I won’t water them until the end of February. Perfect for anyone with a busy life.

There’s always baby plants to pot up. I’m using these in a Christmas wreath next week. I’ll make a circle of willow, cover it in sheet moss, and wire in the succulent cuttings. They’ll soon root into the moss and grow on. I’ll post some how-to photos as I go. The wreath can hang on the front door, or become a table setting with a candle in the middle.

The temperature in here is 10C today. A Parwins electric fan heater is set to 5C. Providing I keep the plants on the dry side, they survive the winter. It’s the wet that kills more plants than the cold. This pinky orange bougainvillea remains colourful right through until spring. I’ll prune it right back next March and it will produce fresh bracts on the new season’s growth. This one is being trained into a pyramid and I’ve also got a purple one trained into a ball.

Down the left of the greenhouse is a row of potted citrus plants. These are fabulous for making cakes. I never use chemicals, so the zest is safe to use. There’s oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes. I’m searching for something called a Buddhas Hand which apparently produces large quantities of peel for jams and marmalade.

I bring pots of herbs and annuals into the greenhouse in October to overwinter. My nasturtiums are still flowering. I’ll use the flowers and leaves in salads. Anything to cheer up dark and rainy days of December.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my whistle-stop tour of my greenhouse. I love to have somewhere to mooch when it’s horrible outdoors. What’s growing in your greenhouses, coldframes or porches this winter? Get in touch and let me know what you are nurturing, indoors.

Joining in with https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/six-on-saturday-01-12-2018/. Why not go over and see what the the others have chosen for their Six on Saturday slideshow photos.

45 thoughts on “Six on Saturday. A peek in my greenhouse

    • I feed them every time I water. Usually Seasol or other seaweed extract. In spring I make my own comfrey and nettle water. In summer, I spray the leaves so the feed goes straight in. In winter, I wipe the leaves with cloths dipped in seaweed water. I’ve got problems with scale insects this year, so I’ve got s few hours work there brushing them off each leaf – with an old toothbrush. I’ll just have to put the radio on! Thanks for reading 🙂

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  1. Thank you 🙂
    Seasol – I’ve just found them on FB and sent them a message to see if they supply to Portugal. IF not I’ll have to see if one of the hardware stores or garden centres sell something similar.
    Scale is the bain of my life on succulents but so far not on Citrus. I spent 6 hours (on and off) trying to remove scale from my Eve’s Needle cacti.with a soft paintbrush and milk. The infestation was so bad I thought it was grey mold – hence the milk. It was not until a couple of days later someone said it could be scale.

    As for citrus, do you get citrus leaf miner?

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    • Oh no! What a job. I’ve just joined the cactus and succulent society here as my new winter interest project. I’m really looking forward to learning more about them and expanding my collection. Thanks for reading. Keep in touch 🙂

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      • I have also just been accepted into the ALgarve succulent and cacti society.. You have to be proposed as it is a closed group. first meting is end of January – so we will see. I think I have collected about 100 different species over the last year. I am obsessed with them!

        I’ve subscribed to your blog .

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      • My first meeting is on Wednesday. I’m going to take some of my cacti plants as I need to know if they are ok or not. I’m obsessed with them too.we will have to compare society notes! 😊

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  2. Citrus in a greenhouse? That would take a bit of work! I would not want to prune them down. When I grew citrus (trees) back in the early 1990s, we grew the Buddha’s hand citron, but it was one of my least favorites. Ironically, the ‘Etrog’ citron was one of my favorites because of its cultural importance. The advantage to the citrons is that they are quite shrubby and could stay quite happy in a greenhouse.

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    • Thanks for reading, Tony. I use the prunings to take cuttings. I’ve discovered the grow really easily from cuttings. So for Christmas I’ve got lots of little mini citrus trees to give away to friends. I tie a ribbon round them and they look so pretty. I’ll look out for the Etrog citron. Thanks again.

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      • Oh, the ‘Etrog’ is nothing like the ‘Buddha’s Hand’. It is certainly no substitute. I just happen to really like the ‘Etrog’, but not the ‘Buddha’s Hand’. If you have reason to grow the ‘Buddha’s Hand’, you should do so. It does make more of the rind than a well rounded fruit that is shaped like a lemon. Citrus are delightfully easy to root as cuttings, but if not grafted onto dwarfing rootstock, trees grown from cutting can eventually get quite large if planted out in the garden. Except for the ‘Meyer’ lemon, the ‘Seville’ sour oranges, and the few citrons, all of our trees were grafted onto dwarfing rootstock. We sold a few standard (orchard) trees, but did not graft or grow them ourselves. Incidentally, for an ‘Etrog’ citron to be kosher, it must not be grafted! I could not even take kosher cuttings from a stock tree that had been grafted!

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      • That’s really interesting. Thanks for the information Tony. That’s probably why some of mine are up to the greenhouse roof and starting to make a canopy. I’d forgotten about the need to graft them onto dwarfing root stock.

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      • Oh, it is not ‘necessary’. It is just done if dwarf trees are preferred. It probably would not make a difference in your greenhouse, since even dwarf trees will reach the ceiling. It just keeps them more compact, and ‘reachable’ for home gardens. Their density is also prettier for home gardens.

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  3. Oh now I think I know what is wrong with my citrus- not enough attention. I’ll certainly try watering mine with seaweed extract. Yours look amazingly healthy. I don’t have a greenhouse and I must say being in a greenhouse with rain falling has a lot of appeal for me. Nearly everything I grow can manage outside all year, much as I would like to have more tender things.

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    • The greenhouse is 20ft long, and alongside the same size polytunnel. I’ve got all the scruffy looking plants in the poly tunnel, and anything looking less messy in the greenhouse. It’s quite nice mooching between the two growing spaces. Both are crammed full. I’ve got potted bulbs in there too and some of the Paperwhites are in flower already- far too early for Christmas.

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  4. I hadn’t thought to grow nasturtiums in the greenhouse (not that I have a greenhouse, but there are other indoor options). What a great way to continue w/the leaves & flowers & seed pods on winter dishes. That succulent wreath idea sounds great. Can’t wait to see the how-to post. Loved the tour!

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    • Thank you Lora. Nasturtiums add a bit of zing to winter salads. I’m growing chervil, Mizuna, miners lettuce and pak Choi – and I’ve still got some tiny tomatoes which are mini bursts of flavour. So welcome in winter. The variety is Bajaja which I can highly recommend for staying fresh into December ( in a greenhouse).

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  5. I love poking my nose into bloggers’ greenhouses, yours is full of lovely things to help you over winter. I had a standard Buddha’s Hand Citrus once, I can’t remember where I got it but I remember it cost me an arm and a leg. It needs to be kept warmer than your other citrus. Mine died when kept over -winter in a just frost -free greenhouse. It was a martyr to scale insect too, but they all are to a certain extent. But it looked really dramatic when covered in orange hands with curly fingers.

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    • Ah, thanks for the advice. I keep the greenhouse at 5C, but it’s not quite warm enough for the grapefruit, which I usually bring into the kitchen until March. I’m thinking of buying some new round radiator pipe type heaters which look a bit cheaper to run. Luckily, the greenhouse is cedar wood which expands in the cold and is very cosy and draft free. I’m keeping an eye on the scale insect problem. I can never completely get rid of them, but using an old toothbrush and kitchen sponge, I reduce their numbers. It’s 12C tonight which is amazingly mild for December.

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  6. First reading for me and I enjoyed everything you wrote. I also grow a lot of citrus (lemon, calamondin, tangerine, pomelos and some crosses that I made because, like you, I use the pruning stems to have new ones but also grafts.)
    Buddha’s hand citrus is on my wish-list like Meyer citrus.

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    • Thank you for reading. Welcome to my blog. I’ve made some lemon cakes today. It was so wonderful to pick a few lemons and just inhale their fabulous scent. The kitchen smells very Christmassy now. I’m making (and freezing) some as presents. Have a good week. See you next Saturday 😊

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  7. Karen your Greenhouse is very special: you are not alone, you are accompanied by a lot of beautiful plants and your cat. The Haworthia is very big and beautiful: I have never seen one so beautiful. What a wonderful and wonderful idea of the Christmas wreath. Please publish at least one photo. You have some succulent plants that are a beauty, I love them just like the cactus. The Bougainvillea in bloom is divine. You are well supplied with organic citrus. Do not you want to make yourself an orange juice with those good oranges? The Capuchinas I like them very much: they make happy just by looking at them. I loved that you taught your beautiful greenhouse. Give your Mother on my part many memories, love and health. To your whole family love and health. Karen, my good friend, rest and do not work too much now with the preparations for Christmas: think of you. Love and health Take care. Very loving greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thank you so much Margarita. That’s good advice. I’m just making my to-do list for Christmas. As always, I want to do everything! I must reduce the list by half at least.i shall take your sensible advice and not make myself ill. Thank you for your kind words about my greenhouse and plants. It’s a sanctuary in the cold weather. Love and best wishes to you and your family. My Mum has a bad cold again. I always worry as she has a weakness now after recurring pneumonia. I’m just back from visiting her and she is a little bit better I think. Shall keep an eye on her. Loving greetings from karen xxx

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  8. Karen, your greenhouse is full of interesting things. Mine is much more utilitarian. In a couple of months it will be full of (hopefully) germinating seeds but for now it is fairly sparsely populated. Most occupants are recently potted up divisions or bareroots. The hydropod is in the heated bench, a full compliment of late cuttings in various states of rooting. Plus, there is a tray of anemone root cuttings. A couple of trays of speculative sowings. And a bunch of dried out winter salads I forgot about! Also, 20 feet! Jealous. Would love a larger GH, just have space for 12×8 and it is probably in too shady a spot.

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  9. What a lovely and interesting range of plants to keep you busy and happy through the dark winter days, Karen. Many more than when I last visited! My home ‘greenhouse’ (conservatory) is currently full of large pots of unusual shrubs from my collection which don’t appreciate too much frost. Wish we could predict the weather over the next few weeks with some certainty. Still – only 3 weeks until the days start to get longer!

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    • It’s not long now is it Mary. Yes, I’ve packed the greenhouse this year. Some lovely little treasures in there came from your nursery. All I’ve got to do is keep everything dry and they will get through the winter. I’ve gradually reduced the temperature down from 10C to 5C and stopped watering. Grey mould is a problem. I’m topping all the pots with grit so there’s nowhere for it to settle. xx

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